|Margarita with her daughter Catarina and son Francisco.|
Margarita Pérez is a 34 year old mother living in Rio Azul, a community about nine kilometers from Nebaj. With 429 families, Rio Azul is relatively small, and like so many communities in rural Guatemala, daily struggles to overcome malnutrition.
Since being widowed, Margarita has been the sole provided for her two children - six year old Francisco and five year old Catarina. Francisco is actually adopted - after his biological mother abandoned him at a young age Margarita took him into her home. She has been his mother ever since, providing him with the love, food, and education he needs to thrive. Margarita’s daughter, Catarina, was born with a dangerously low birth weight. Under the constant supervision of Food for the Hungry (FH) staff and the local ministry of health, Catarina has managed to gain weight, and little by little, grow into the vibrant little girl she is today.
The heart of FH staff is to help parents see their children as made in God’s image. To that end, they work tirelessly with individual mothers like Margarita to improve the quality of care children receive after they’re born, and equip Leader Mothers to teach life-saving health lessons to their Cascade groups.
Margarita explains how these trainings have directly benefited her, "To me it is very special to see my son and daughter grow. At first it was not clear how malnutrition affects the earliest development of our children, because it is a disease that can’t be seen. But thanks to the help of FH it was possible to rescue my two children from suffering malnutrition.”
At home, Margarita talks to her children about positive values she learns in her Cascade group, and tries to do activities that will develop their motor skills and help them learn to read. This positive reinforcement at home encourages learning and interaction with classmates at school.
She explains, "Thousands of children in Guatemala do not have the opportunity to study because of poverty, inequality, child labour, and malnutrition. The ideas FH has brought us allow us to take better care of our children. As a mother, I intend to continue giving better life opportunities to my two children. And God willing, with the support of FH, I will.”
Help more mothers in Guatemala like Margarita by giving a "Life Hack" or "Chubby Cheeks".